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260,000 UPS Workers Were Headed For a Massive Strike. But a New Deal Means They May Avoid It

UPS just avoided a close call.

The massive package delivery company reached a handshake contract deal with Teamsters negotiators on Thursday. Teamsters members had earlier authorized a strike that could have started in August if a new contract was not in the works.

The tentative agreement includes a new five-year contract and higher wages for existing workers. Hourly wage increases would total $4.15 over five years, while the part-time workers would receive a starting wage of $13 an hour as of Aug. 1, with increases in the years following, according to The Wall Street Journal. The deal also includes the creation of a separate class of weekend delivery workers, who would receive lower pay.

While the agreement still needs to be finalized and then ratified by Teamsters members, the tentative deal will allow a large sigh of relief for UPS. In early June, the union workers had authorized a strike, which would have been the first since 1997 and affect the nearly 260,000 UPS employees.

The current agreement between UPS and Teamsters expires on July 31 and the strike authorization was largely seen as a bargaining chip for the union. A UPS spokesperson told WSJ that the company is confident that the final deal would be reached. UPS is due to provide more information about the deal today.